If We Were Electric's twelve stories celebrate New Orleans in all
of its beautiful peculiarities: macabre and magical, muddy and
exquisite, sensual and spiritual. The stunning debut collection
finds its characters in moments of desire and despair, often stuck
on the verge of a great metamorphosis, but burdened by some
unreasonable love. These are stories about missed opportunities,
about people on the outside who don't fit in, about the
consequences of not mustering enough courage to overcome the binds.
In "Feux Follet," an old man's grief attracts supernatural lights
in the dark Louisiana swamps. An exploding transformer's raw,
unnerving energy in the title story matches the strange, ferocious
temper of an unlucky hustler. "Blackout" sets the profound numbness
of a young man physically abused by his mentally unstable partner
beside the meaningful beauty of an unexpected moment of joy with
someone else. The teenage narrator in "Before Las Blancas" is so
overwhelmed by his sexuality that he abandons everything and
everyone he's known to live in a happy illusion . . . in Mexico.
And "Where It Takes Us" is a poignant, understated snapshot of a
gay man who accompanies his straight, HIV-positive brother to the
race track to bond again.
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